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Alex Poinsett

Walking With Presidents: Louis Martin and the Rise of Black Political Power

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In the last weeks of the 1960 presidential race, Louis Martin pulled off a minor miracle. With two days to go before the election, this passionate civil rights advocate and Democratic activists put two million pamphlets into the hands of black voters across America, informing them of Senator John F. Kennedy's sympathetic phone call to Martin Luther King, Jr., then languishing in a Georgia prison. The center of gravity in black partisan support shifted, and Kennedy won by a hair. This is just one example of the remarkable influence Louis Martin had on national politics for more than four decades. Now, for the first time, the story of Louis Martin's life is told. Walking with Presidents traces the career of an African American who rose from crusading journalist to preeminent presidential advisor and civil rights liason in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter administrations. Martin was the consummate insider, unconcerned about who got credit for his work so long as he could advance his mission―bringing African Americans into the political mainstream.

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